What is a Shiatsu Massage - Benefits and Contraindications
There are many ways to relax, de-stress and forget built-up tensions, but if you also want to regain strength and heal the tensest parts of your body, you can try a shiatsu massage. This Japanese technique is based on the channeling of vital energy through the application of healing pressure on strategic body parts.
In the following OneHowTo article, we'll explain what is a shiatsu massage; together with its benefits and contraindications. It's a perfect therapy which unites body and mind in order to make you feel at your best. Try it out!
What is a shiatsu massage?
Shiatsu is a therapy of Japanese origin influenced by traditional Chinese medicine. This relaxation technique is performed with the objective of channeling the vital energy, commonly known as Chi, and healing the areas affected by stress and daily tensions.
The most commonly used method when carrying out a shiatsu massage is the application of pressure on the tensest areas - usually coinciding with acupuncture points - which is generally done through the fingers or palms of the hands, although elbows or knees can be used for greater pressure. Also, mobilization, stretching and kneading techniques can be used to perform this massage, which also makes use of breathing techniques and body positioning.
Benefits of shiatsu massage
The shiatsu massage is one of the best known and valued techniques for eliminating stress. This technique allows you to loosen particularly tense body parts, which makes it easier to relax and frees you from bad energy.
It is also a good method for eliminating pain, thanks to the pressure of specific body areas. It is beneficial for people suffering from ailments such as:
- Back pain or neck stiffness
- Spinal pain and back problems
- Reduced mobility
- Sports injuries
Furthermore, a shiatsu massage is perfect for disease prevention because it protects your body by relaxing the muscles, filling you with positive energy and working to improve mental health. Thus, this massage reduces all problems related to the cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine or gastrointestinal systems. Among other things, shiatsu is beneficial for healing:
- Period pains
Finally, don't forget that treating yourself to a relaxing massage also has benefits for your skin. The power of the shiatsu technique will allow you to prevent wrinkles and sagging, whilst making your skin look brighter, healthier and more attractive.
How is shiatsu massage performed
There are many varieties of shiatsu massage, but all of them will involve the application of pressure on the most tense and painful points of your body. It shouldn't be performed in a localized way, since the objective is to get the energy to move around and prevent it from getting blocked.
For example, if you have back pain you shouldn't work exclusively on this area. Instead, you - or rather, whoever is performing the shiatsu massage - should find points in the back, arms or legs that unblock the energy and release tensions. Also, take into account that the pain you're feeling might originate from a different part of your body which feels normal. For this reason, a shiatsu massage tries to find the origin or cause of the pain.
Usually, the receiver lies face down in an open, comfortable space. As a shiatsu masseur, you should place yourself on your knees parallel to the recipient. Next, you should carefully place your hand over the recipient's sacrum until your breathing synchronizes. Then, place both hands over the recipient's back and work as if you were crawling over it. Remember that you shouldn't be applying any force, but do allow your body weight to apply pressure on these points. Search for tense areas across the whole back and apply pressure with your fingers or hands, but never directly on the spine. You can work with your fingers or hands.
Contraindications of shiatsu massage
Shiatsu massage uses non-aggressive techniques and is characterized by its softness, which makes it one of the massages with fewest contraindications when compared to other therapeutic methods and massage techniques. However, it is not advisable to perform a shiatsu massage if you suffer from any of the following:
- Risky pregnancies or after the first three months of pregnancy
- Recent fractures or breaks
- Diseases such as osteoporosis or epilepsy
- Fevers or hemorrhages
- Varicose veins
Now that you know what is a shiatsu massage, its benefits and contraindications, you may want to learn about other kinds of massage and/or improve your technique in the field of physiotherapy. We suggest you read the following articles:
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